RIPON — It's moments like this that players like Nolan Lingley thrives on.
With the bases loaded and two outs, he delivered a three-run double in leading top-seeded Ripon Christian High past No. 8 Millennium of Tracy in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI opener on Tuesday, 4-2.
"This is my favorite time to hit," Lingley said as he recalled the moment. "It feels great when you come through."
The visiting Falcons were on the cusp of an upset prior to that.
"That's a good team," said RC coach John deVisser. "They have good hitters, pitching and they play great defense."
Millennium had the Knights teetering for their playoff lives in the one-and-done format, leading by a run late in the game.
Ripon Christian (18-6) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Declan Van Vuren, who reached base on a one-out single, scored when Dale Fisher's grounder was mishandled for an error.
Millennium (11-14) made it up moments later with one swing of the bat. Colton Duke's solo blast cleared the 336-foot sign in left field, tying the game up, 1-1.
The Falcons went ahead in the sixth with Spencer Norvell opened with a hit. Cade Duke followed with a walk, sending up the ever-dangerous Colton Duke.
The 6-foot-6 senior delivered an RBI single, making it a 2-1 game.
RC finally put together a rally in the bottom of the sixth.
With two down, Ian Vrieling walked, Will Gilbert was hit by a pitch, and Drake Nelson beat out a bunt — he did likewise in last year's successful playoff run, deVisser noted — setting the table for Lingley.
DeVisser credited the pitching efforts of senior Brock Nunes, who came in as a spot starter and threw five strong innings before yielding to Lingley.
"He stepped up," deVisser said. "Brock had only two starts prior to today."
Nunes' quality start also enabled the Knights to use their ace Lingley in Friday's game.
"I'm excited," said Lingley, looking ahead to his next start.
He also earned the win over Millennium.
Central Catholic 5, Ripon 2
In Modesto, the No. 4 Raiders (15-11) plated five unanswered runs — including three in the bottom of the first — and coasted behind a dominant pitching effort from Dalton Durossette.
The strong-armed junior twirled a two-hitter and registered 11 strikeouts.
Sean McCann and Brandon Rainer accounted for No. 13 Ripon’s lone hits, and the Indians (11-13) scored two unearned runs in the fourth inning. Ripon’s season ends having lost seven of its last eight. Central Catholic hosts fifth-seeded Sonora on Thursday.